Spread 'em?

Source // Arcade Museum

The drug war in America can be absolutely fascinating to find out about. That's not to say I welcome it, just that the wealth of stories that come out of it can fill all kinds of media, and who doesn't love a good bit of media?

I'm not concerned about all media in this blog, though, just video games, and in the late 1980s, the war on drugs was tackled by the arcade game NARC. I don't think I've ever heard of it, so it'll be an eye-opener.


I wasn't able to play the arcade version, but the NES port of NARC was developed by Rare, so it must be a good'un. Unfortunately, being on the NES, it cut out the drug references which really defeats the point...

That point is that you play as Max Force and Hit Man, two heavily armed guys with a mission to bring in Mr. Big, a notorious big-time player when it comes to drugs and terrorism. Like all successful anti-drug projects you've got to start on the streets with buy busts, or NARCs equivalent at least - shoot bad guys with a submachine gun, blow them up with a rocket, or actually, somehow, arrest them.

Points, naturally, get awarded for doing both, and it is only by working through each stage offing everything you come into contact with that you'll make any progress. Everything that isn't nailed to the background is a threat, with no innocent civilians to worry about getting caught in the crossfire.

Move, shoot, shoot some more, move some more, keep shooting. It doesn't require anything more than that, really. It is as mindless as an empty skull. Eventually, you'll get to Mr. Big, but I just didn't see the point in persisting with the game to even put him away for good.

Obviously, I never got close to Mr. Big in the first place, but still - for all my arsenal and ability to wipe drug dealers off the streets in dramatic fashion, I just didn't want to.

Fun Times

I went to YouTube to see what I was missing. Graphics, mainly. They have a look about them, I can definitely say that, but I don't know if they're a reason to play the game.

Beyond that, I have to say I'm struggling.

Final Word

If you like beat 'em ups with guns, then you might like NARC. Maybe.

If you want to see enemies that must have been modelled on a flasher, then you might want to check out NARC. Maybe.

If you want to see just what the hell the arcades were doing in the late 1980s, then you might want to find a way to play NARC. Maybe.

As you can tell, I just don't get it. I don't see the point in NARC. I guess it is different insofar as it gives you the option to arrest, rather than kill criminals, but that's just not enough to sway my opinion on it. NARC is a thing and now I'm going to do another far more interesting thing.

Dusting, probably.

Fun Facts

As is the case with many a game, developers snuck themselves in as enemy characters. Whoever got to play that freaky flasher was hopefully paid a fair bit.

NARC, developed by Williams Electronics, first released in 1988.
Version played: NES, 1990, via emulation.
Version watched: Arcade, 1998 (GamePlayVideoTube, VideoGaming4U)